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Old April 25th, 2008, 09:55 AM   #1
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Question to Ty Ford

Somewhere you've said: " The cmc641 is the gold standard. You don't see a movie set without them. Below that (in order) are the AT4053a from Audio Technica, the Audix SCX-1 and Oktava MC012 with hyper capsule."

That was here: http://www.reduser.net/forum/archive...hp/t-2204.html

So do you still agree?
WOuld you say that for dialog inside we have, from better to worse,

The schoeps
the AT
THe Audix
and trailing the Oktava?
Thanks
Larry
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Old April 26th, 2008, 06:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Secrest View Post
Somewhere you've said: " The cmc641 is the gold standard. You don't see a movie set without them. Below that (in order) are the AT4053a from Audio Technica, the Audix SCX-1 and Oktava MC012 with hyper capsule."

That was here: http://www.reduser.net/forum/archive...hp/t-2204.html

So do you still agree?
WOuld you say that for dialog inside we have, from better to worse,

The schoeps
the AT
THe Audix
and trailing the Oktava?
Thanks
Larry
Hello Larry,

stick the Sennheiser MKHG 8040 or 8050 in after Schoeps cmc641, with the caveat that you need a really good shock mount and maybe a high-pass filter.

Stick a Sanken CS-3e after the Sennheiser 8040/50. It looks like an interference tube mic, but it isn't.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old April 26th, 2008, 12:39 PM   #3
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Thank you, Ty,
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Old April 27th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #4
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Ty,

Okay, so the list in descending order of quality/performance in your opinion is:

Schoeps CMC641
Sennheiser MKHG 8040 or 8050
Sanken CS-3e
Audio Technica 4053a
Audix SCX1-HC
Oktava MK012

Correct? From some other of your posts, I've gathered that the Audix is closer to the Schoeps than the 4053a. Did I miss something?

Thanks,
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Old April 27th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #5
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Leo,

You and Larry are trying to get me to carve into stone what these mics are about and I'm not comfortable with the idea that you expect a simple, one-dimennsional order. Life and mics are not that simple.

Each of these mics has dimensional qualities that vary in and of themselves.

The mic preamp you decide to plug them into can also make a noticeable difference.

How they are used (or misued) also makes a difference.

Go to a big time film shoot. You'll see the cmc641; several of them usually. You'll also see CS-3e. The Sennheiser 8xxx are a bit too new and have handling and LF issues. I expect it will do pretty well in the right hands, but I don't know. No one does yet.

The others are in a tier below that.

Regards

Ty Ford
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Old April 27th, 2008, 03:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
Leo,

You and Larry are trying to get me to carve into stone what these mics are about and I'm not comfortable with the idea that you expect a simple, one-dimennsional order. Life and mics are not that simple.
Ty,

I fully understand there is no one dimensional order when it comes to mics. However, there does seem to be two or three general 'tiers' of mics. Jumping from the middle to the high end tier will cost at least $700 at retail prices. So it makes sense for many indie filmmakers to start with the best mics from the middle tier and either rent when better mics are needed or upgrade over a period of time.

Obviously there are no one or two mic fits all units and, if one is serious about audio, should have a number of mic options available to choose the one the sounds the best for a given situation. But, everyone has got to start somewhere.

Now I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, but simply trying to get opinions about the Audix mic which there is very little comparative info to be found. When someone who is well respected such as yourself makes positive comments about such a mic, it carries a fair amount of weight. We very much appreciate you sharing your experience because many of us don't have the luxury of being able to compare many mics side by side or have used them in the field.

During the last month, I have narrowed my choices for a hyper down to the Audix, the 4053a, the SE300b/CK93 and the Oktava. Now I think I'm down to the Audix and the 4053a based on all the posts I've read. I suppose I could just buy them all and return the ones I don't like but I'd rather not if I don't have to.

Cheers and thanks for all your input and help,
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Old April 29th, 2008, 03:31 PM   #7
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I've not seen anything definitive regarding whether it is better to use the 8050 or the 8040 for recording dialog for films in typical indoor situations.

I would figure the 8050 would be better, however I've seen people say the 8040 is closer to the MK41 capsule...so I'm really not sure which one to buy. Has anyone done any comparisons between the two?
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Old April 29th, 2008, 04:56 PM   #8
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Dear Craig,

Ty said:

Go to a big time film shoot. You'll see the cmc641; several of them usually. You'll also see CS-3e. The Sennheiser 8xxx are a bit too new and have handling and LF issues. I expect it will do pretty well in the right hands, but I don't know. No one does yet.




The Schoeps CMC6 with a MK-41 capsule (CMC641) is a true industry standard. It makes sense going with the standard at this time.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 05:19 PM   #9
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I agree w/ all that. I've never disputed that the CMC641 is the holy grail :)

It's a monetary thing though. Filmmaking is just a hobby for me, I don't make a living from it. So if I can save $750-800 on a mic that's *almost* as good, I'm tempted to settle for the Sennheiser. I haven't made up my mind though, I go back and forth on the decision.

I've just never been sure whether it's the 8050 or the 8040 that more closely resembles the CMC641. That was my original question, maybe I didn't write it out clearly. I read the whole thread, I saw what Ty had to say and his feelings are pretty well known on the issue :)
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Old April 29th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #10
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One angle...

The only way to know that at this time is to buy them all and 'have an opinion', which requires that experience. Maybe if you explore these mic's now you will be cutting edge for a bit. We're all learning after all. It's your question and a good one too. But as mentioned above the answer is still being created and equals the average of every informed opinion, of which there are maybe not as many as you imagine. The only useful answer though is the one your own experience gives you.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 12:44 AM   #11
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Or rent. BTW, there are a lot of MKH-50's, 60's and 70's on film shoots as well.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 06:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Tuffrey View Post
The only way to know that at this time is to buy them all and 'have an opinion', which requires that experience. Maybe if you explore these mic's now you will be cutting edge for a bit. We're all learning after all. It's your question and a good one too. But as mentioned above the answer is still being created and equals the average of every informed opinion, of which there are maybe not as many as you imagine. The only useful answer though is the one your own experience gives you.
Right Jim,

You will learn as I did (well, I already knew this one) that at some point, as the ambient noise increases, and the distance to the person talking increases, an omni lav beats a Schoeps cmc641 or an MKH 50, 60, 70.

The less firm part of this thing is that you do need experience to make proper sense out of what you're hearing. Hand me a sound kit and I can do something for you. Hand me a pair of scissors and a comb and ask me to cut your hair........maybe not. :)

Regards,

Ty
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Old June 13th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #13
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Hi all:

If I may piggyback on what Ty says here?

Here is a different perspective on how to look at microphones that might help you. A microphone is the exact inverse of a loudspeaker. The two devices function in exactly the same way only on opposite ends of the wire. The loudspeaker itself is a diaphragm that moves when it receives an amplified signal. The movement of the diaphragm (speaker) excites airwaves and the end result is the sound coming from the speaker that is a reproduction of the signal that it is fed. Decades of opinion, argument, lies and truths have been expounded over loudspeaker theory and design and the only effective way to choose a loudspeaker is to bring music that you are intimately familiar with and to quickly narrow your choices down to two or three and make an informed decision. I used to be in the audio business in retail and wholesale for both consumer and professional lines and I have owned more than 50 different pairs of loudspeakers over the years because I had easy access to constantly own, trade and listen to them. Owning more than 50 pairs of loudspeakers has taught me some interesting truths about audio. More about this below.

The diaphragm in a microphone responds to airwaves and turns the moving soundwaves (airwaves) into an electrical signal, which feeds the mixer, camera, etc. In function, the diaphragm in a microphone works the same way that a loudspeaker works, only in reverse.

My point is, asking any experts which microphones are best for you is a pointless exercise. Since microphones at their root are simply diaphragms, little "reverse speakers", if you will, they share the same unique characteristics as speakers. All microphones will present to the listener/user in different ways. All microphones sound radically different in all environments, humid versus dry, interior versus, exterior, reflective versus dead, etc. In the end, what sounds like a great microphone to Ty or myself or Jimmy or Dan K. or anyone else is basically almost irrelevant to you or it should be. The funny thing about the Internet is that almost every group that uses technology quickly falls into lock step consensus about what is "the best" and "where on the scale" everything fits. It's human nature but it's kind of ridiculous if you think about it objectively.

Even within all our opinions, there are factors about how a mic is used, which environments they are used in, how skilled the user is at using the mic, etc. It all boils down to all microphones are used in circumstances that will always render different sound qualities every time that they are used. There are no constants, there are no bests, there are only opinions. What works best for Ty may not work best for me. What works best for me may not work best for you. The Schoeps CMC641 is an excellent piece of engineering that happens to be one of the most expensive mics in its class. Is it the best for you? Perhaps some of you, in certain circumstances it is. For many users, it may not be the best choice because it is merely a small link in your audio chain.

To me, owning a microphone like the CMC641 truly requires that you invest a very substantial amount of money into your sound package. It is kind of dumb to buy a microphone like the CMC641 and run it directly into a noisy low end prosumer camcorder with lousy mic preamps. It only makes sense to own a microphone like the CMC641 if you use a mixer that is commensurate in quality, if you own high quality microphone cables, a great mic mount and perhaps a high quality recording device like a 744t or a Deva. Owning a mic like this is like owning a new Porsche. You may scrimp and save and barely be able to buy the car, but if you don't have a nice garage, cannot afford the maintenance, premium fuel, the insurance, you really can't afford the car, right?

Lastly, if you discount everything I have said above, as Ty states below, mics are essentially wine. There many different types of wine and all appeal to each of us differently. Just because working pros choose the CMC641 or the mic XYZ should mean very little in your decision, perhaps only 10% of your decision. Closed eyes and hands on testing are the only way to create your own rating scale about tiers of mics. Even my own tests that I place in my articles should be a tiny part of your buying decisions. I perform the tests in a carefully chosen environment that may or may not have anything to do with where you will use the same mic.

I hope that my rambling diatribe may have communicated at least a little of what I intended. I totally agree with Ty, trying to carve these lists and tiers into stone is pointless and meaningless.

Dan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
Leo,

You and Larry are trying to get me to carve into stone what these mics are about and I'm not comfortable with the idea that you expect a simple, one-dimennsional order. Life and mics are not that simple.

Each of these mics has dimensional qualities that vary in and of themselves.

The mic preamp you decide to plug them into can also make a noticeable difference.

How they are used (or misued) also makes a difference.

Go to a big time film shoot. You'll see the cmc641; several of them usually. You'll also see CS-3e. The Sennheiser 8xxx are a bit too new and have handling and LF issues. I expect it will do pretty well in the right hands, but I don't know. No one does yet.

The others are in a tier below that.

Regards

Ty Ford

Last edited by Dan Brockett; June 13th, 2008 at 01:17 PM.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #14
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To elaborate on Dan's and Ty's comments.

I have learned that one mic is not the solution for all situations.

I completely agree that the high end mics should be used with good preamps, such as those found in Sound Devices mixers and recorders. Of course there are other good preamps, mixers and recorders.

People that work in sound, or those with experience will have a short list of microphones that they rely on, these are considered their "Go To" mics.

My "Go To" mics are:

For Indoor Dialog or in any reflective environment: Schoeps CMC-641 with Cut 1 filter.

For Outdoor Dialog: Sennheiser MKH-60

For recording background sounds when I can not get close: Sennheiser MKH-70.
(For example, when I have to record a large group of horses and riders and I can not get close, I use the MKH-70, but I have wireless mics on the individuals with dialog.)

For Lavalieres, personally I use the Tram TR-50, but there are many other great choices in this area.

If you are budgeting, please remember that many mics will require accessories, such as a full Rycote kit for the shotguns. At the very least, the Schoeps requires a good mount. The Rycote Invision mount is a real bargain, but it does not provide for wind protection.


I use the Sennheiser MKH-60 more than any other mic with a close second being the Tram TR-50s.

The Schoeps is absolutely invaluable for certain conditions.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 02:21 AM   #15
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And just because this thread represents something so very common - to wit, people wanting a piece of gear to solve problems by virtue of the simple fact of ownership - my advice is to think of all audio equipment as the equivalent of owning various musical instruments.

Doesn't matter how fine a quality violin, or trumpet you purchase and own - if you can't actually play it.

Good audio recording is 90 percent experience and technique and 10 percent tools.

Always has been, always will be.

Don't believe me? Give a qualified recordist $1000 and a B&H catalog and let them loose on a movie set. Then give a newbie TEN GRAND and the same catalog and set them loose.

Wanna bet on which one comes back with the better recordings?
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